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Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages and Mental Health Professionals Gather in Valley Stream to Advocate for Mental Health Care Equity in BIPOC Communities

On Thursday, Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages joined representatives from NAMI Queens/Nassau and The New Hope to discuss racial disparities in access to mental health treatment. The event took place at The New Hope counseling center in Valley Stream NY with NAMI Queens/Nassau board President David Sills, along with Director Lisa Farray-Atkins, and Vice President Don Sinkfield of The New Hope counseling services.

“With Mental Health Awareness Day on Monday the 10th, it’s important to address the disparities in Black and brown populations when it comes to healthcare access. I have continually advocated supporting the mental health needs of my community whether it’s by pushing for depression screening in pregnant and nursing individuals or by endorsing the 9-8-8 crisis line for those with an immediate need,” stated Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages. “I want to highlight local organizations that provide an array of services along with representative care for the people of the 22nd Assembly District”.

“We need more affordable services to assist people with their mental state. We know that mental health doesn’t get the same insurance reimbursement as physiological services. There has to be mental and physiological health parity,” commented David Sills President of NAMI Queens/Nassau.

“The new hope mental health counseling center continues to be a vital resource to the community providing individual, child, couple, and family counseling. We have various support groups and even counsel young people who are transitioning out of high school” said The New Hope Director Lisa Farray-Atkins. “We want people to know at The New Hope, we are the message”.

“Access to mental health is a 2022 civil rights issue. We are on the forefront and believe that with information and resources we can push this forward” stated The New Hope Vice President Don Sinkfield.

It’s important to know that mental illness is manageable when we seek treatment, that racial disparities in treatment are present but can be tackled and that support is available and accessible to us all,” added Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages. “I would like to thank these professionals for being here, David Sills from NAMI/Queens, Don Sinkfield, and Lisa Farrah-Atkins from The New Hope for being here today and for the services you provide to our community.”

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